What do you do come Christmas if you’re an architect who lives in a neighborhood known for over-the-top holiday displays, and your wife drives a car with the license plate “GRSWLDS,” a not-so-subtle reference to the Clark Griswald movie character made famous by Chevy Chase?
If you are Patrick Kruger you send a Christmas tree right through the roof of your family’s home, or at least make your neighbors think that’s what happened.
Kruger, 41, and an architect by trade, bought a 14-foot-tall Christmas tree last Saturday and placed it in the front window of the Seattle home he shares with his wife, Maggie, and 4-year-old son, Miles.
Before he did that, however, he sawed off the top six feet of the tree and placed the tree top on his home’s roof, making it appear as though the tree had crashed through the roof.
“We lived in a two-story house years ago and did a tree that was both on the first and second floors, a 20-foot-tree that we cut in half,” Kruger told ABCNews.com. “Now we live in a smaller house so I thought let me put it through the roof.”
Kruger and his wife spent nine hours on Saturday, in the rain, to pull the stunt off, measuring the distance between the center of the tree and the inside wall of the house and then applying that measurement to the roof while adding in the dimension of the eve, he said. They also recruited a spotter who stood in the street to make sure the two halves of the tree were perfectly aligned.
To make it look realistic he also built a platform on the roof to make it look like something had pushed the shingles and roofing materials awry.
On Sunday Kruger woke up to see that “his baby,” as he calls it, had fallen to the ground in an overnight wind storm.
“I was completely embarrassed,” he said. “My wife was out at this point – she said, ‘I did it once,’ – but I was able to convince a colleague of mine to help me bolt it to the roof.”
“The insanity of putting four bolts into a perfectly good roof is something probably to be noted,” Kruger joked.
The bolts worked and the tree has stayed put, much to the delight of Kruger’s own son, Miles, and the whole neighborhood.
“He’s in heaven,” he said of Miles. “He loves pointing it out to the other kids in the neighborhood. The kids line up in front of the house and look at it and bring their friends by and go right up to the window to see how did it go through the roof.”
“They have a big smile on their face and that was the objective,” he said.
The decorated tree inside the house wedges right up against the ceiling and the tree on the roof, though decorated with lights and a few ornaments, does not have a topper, something Kruger excluded due to concerns over the wind and something he says his neighbors says the tree needs.
The only topper Kruger is concerned with now, however, is how he is going to top this next Christmas.
“I think we’ll definitely do it again next year. We’ve had a really great time doing it,” he said. “And I don’t know what we’ll do to top it.”